Cocaine Is Back. Blame Technology for It.


Supply is plentiful again, report the UN and EU, and tech-savvy young people are the principal buyers.

By Leonid Bershidsky @ Bloomberg.com, June 27, with interactive graphs

“Uberization of the cocaine trade”? That’s not a joke. Fresh reports on illegal drug use from the United Nations and the European Union show that the cocaine market is growing rapidly, and technological progress has a lot to do with it.

The opioid epidemic remains largely a U.S. phenomenon, driven by the high availability of medical opiates and poor policy responses; in Europe, opioid use is going down consistently thanks to pragmatic harm reduction policies that decrease the stigma of drug use and stress treatment rather than enforcement. In contrast to opioids, the use of cocaine is on the rise in both major markets, North America and Europe, according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime [….]


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